[link post] How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force 2022-08-08T14:56:47.165Z
TobiasH's Shortform 2021-10-22T14:10:21.696Z
Does anyone know of an English translation for the final report on the Finnish UBI experiment? 2020-05-08T06:50:22.952Z


Comment by TobiasH on [deleted post] 2022-09-15T17:30:18.019Z

I looked into evidence for the quote you posted for one hour. While I think the phrasing is inaccurate, I’d say the gist of the quote is true.  For example, it's pretty understandable that people jump from "Emile Torres says that Nick Beckstead supports white supremacy" to  "Emile Torres says that Nick Beckstead is a white supremacist". 

White Supremacy:
In a public facebook post you link to this public google doc where you call a quote from Nick Beckstead “unambiguously white-supremacist”.

You reinforce that view in a later tweet:

You claim that the writing of Bostrom, Beckstead, Ord, Greaves, etc. is “very much about the preservation of white Western civilization”:

You also tweeted about a criticism of Hilary Greaves  in which you “see white supremacy all over it”:

On another facebook post you agree with Olle Häggström [note: Häggström actually strongly disagrees with this characterization of their position] that Bostrom’s idea of transhumanism and utilitarianism in Letters from Utopia “is a recipe for moral disaster—for genocide, white supremacy, and so on.”

In your Salon article you call some of Bostrom’s ideas “straight out of the handbook of eugenics”.

You reinforce this view in the following tweet:

You also say that “Longtermism is deeply rooted in the ideology of eugenics”.


You called Sam Harris “quite racist”:

In this tweet you strongly imply that some of Bostrom’s views are indistinguishable from scientific racism:

There’s also this tweet that describes the EA community as welcoming to misogynists, neoreactionaries, and racists:

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on EA memes Sept 2022 · 2022-08-27T15:57:03.100Z · EA · GW
Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on What We Owe the Future is an NYT bestseller · 2022-08-25T15:54:37.511Z · EA · GW

Toby Ord touches on that in The Precipice.
For example here (at 11:40)

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Why does no one care about AI? · 2022-08-08T13:10:34.002Z · EA · GW

But the same study also found that only 41% of respondents from the general population placed AI becoming more intelligent than humans into the 'first 3 risks of concern' out of a choice of 5 risks. 
Only for 12% of respondents was it the biggest concern. 'Opinion leaders' were again more optimistic – only 5% of them thought AI intelligence surpassing human intelligence was the biggest concern.

Question: "Which of the potential risks of the development of artificial intelligence concerns you the most? And the second most? And the third most?"
Option 1: The risks related to personal security and data protection.
Option 2: The risk of misinterpretation by machines.
Option 3: Loss of jobs.
Option 4: Artificial intelligence that surpasses human intelligence.
Option 5: Others
Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Why does no one care about AI? · 2022-08-08T12:59:30.381Z · EA · GW

I recently found a Swiss AI survey that indicates that many people do care about AI.
[This is only very weak evidence against your thesis, but might still interest you 🙂.]

Sample size:
Population – 1245 people
Opinion Leaders – 327 people [from the economy, public administration, science and education]

The question: 
"Do you fear the emergence of an "artificial super-intelligence", and that robots will take power over humans?"

From the general population, 11% responded "Yes, very", and 37% responded "Yes, a bit". 
So, half of the respondents (that expressed any sentiment) were at least somewhat worried.

The 'opinion leaders' however are much less concerned. Only 2% have a lot of fear and 23% have a bit of fear.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on evelynciara's Shortform · 2022-07-06T07:13:46.994Z · EA · GW
Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on New cause area: bivalve aquaculture · 2022-06-12T14:35:32.046Z · EA · GW

From a welfarist perspective, and under the assumption that going vegan/vegetarian isn't an option, one challenge might be: 
"Should we promote grass-fed beef consumption instead?"

A very rough estimate (might be off by orders of magnitude):

I'm super uncertain if I'm comfortable with giving mussels approx. 1/20'000 the moral worth compared to cows. Even after reading, for example, this blog post arguing The Ethical Case for Eating Oysters and Mussels.

[Edit: If bivalves mainly substitute fish, then this challenge might be missing the issue.]

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on New cause area: bivalve aquaculture · 2022-06-12T14:29:59.301Z · EA · GW

Nice analysis – thank you for posting!

While I agree that bivalves are very likely at most minimally sentient, I'd feel more comfortable with people promoting bivalve aquaculture at scale if the downside risks are clearer to me.

Do you have any sense of exactly how unlikely it is that bivalves suffer?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Revisiting the karma system · 2022-06-06T17:05:29.522Z · EA · GW

That's very cool!

Does it adjust the karma for when the post was posted? 
Or does it adjust for when the karma was given/taken?

For example:
The post with the highest inflation-adjusted karma was posted 2014, and had 70 upvotes out of 69 total votes in 2019 and now sits at 179 upvotes out of 125 total votes. Does the inflation adjustment consider that the average size of a vote after 2019 was around 2?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on I doubt "Neartermist" is a monicker people want. What would you like to be called? · 2022-05-26T07:03:03.199Z · EA · GW

How well does this represent your views to people unfamiliar with it as a term in population ethics?

It might sound as if you're an EA only concerned about affecting persons (as in humans, or animals with personhood).

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on A retroactive grant for creating the HPMoR audiobook (Eneasz Brodski)? · 2022-05-04T16:55:07.721Z · EA · GW

Highjacking the thread to say that somebody should consider making sure that Jack Voraces is going to continue their recordings of hpmor – e.g. by providing them funding.

They've recorded 33 episodes that you can find here:

I'd say the recording is of similar quality to other professional audiobooks I've listened to. While I absolutely loved listening to Eneasz Brodski's audiobook, I think the Jack Voraces version could help spread hpmor even further (if people find this desirable).

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Consider Not Changing Your Forum Username to Your Real Name · 2022-04-28T05:58:29.964Z · EA · GW

Would it be possible for the usernames to be searchable inside the forum's search function but not searchable through other search engines (e.g. Google)? Afaik it should at least be possible for the user page/ profile not to be indexed.

And would it help with these problems?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Career Suggestion: Earning to Skill · 2022-04-14T17:03:35.294Z · EA · GW

It might be the combination of small funding and local knowledge about people's skills that is valuable. For example, funding a person that is (currently) not impressive to grantmakers but impressive if you know them and their career plans deeply.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Open and Welcome Thread: October 2020 · 2022-04-02T13:47:47.802Z · EA · GW

This hasn't been implemented yet, was it forgotten about or just not worth it?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on [April fool's post] Proposal to assign careers by birthdate · 2022-04-01T07:06:39.111Z · EA · GW

This might be the best intervention EAs could work on because it is making a lot of future economists extremely happy!

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Why 80 000 hours should recommend more people become drug lords · 2022-04-01T06:48:35.429Z · EA · GW

"This chance of a better world is only slightly out of reach; out of reach because the best minds of our generation have not been directed towards a life of drugs." 

Thanks for this beautiful piece of sophistry!

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Hello from the new Content Specialist at CEA · 2022-03-09T11:20:14.861Z · EA · GW

Oh, very exciting – looking forward to attending a Forum workshop! :)

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Contest - A New Term For "Eucatastrophe" · 2022-02-18T11:05:13.924Z · EA · GW

Some quick ideas:

Existential Jackpot
Existential Boon
Surprising Societal Boon
Unanticipated Societal Windfall
Major Unexpected Gains
Unexpected Supergains
White Swan Event [I just checked, that already has a different meaning.]

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Argument Against Impact: EU Is Not an AI Superpower · 2022-01-31T13:09:55.814Z · EA · GW

According to this CSET report, Europe (especially the Netherlands, UK, Germany) plays a role in the semiconductor supply chain. Is this significant enough to grant Europe a "seat at the AI table" in the future?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on What are some artworks relevant to EA? · 2022-01-17T07:31:06.895Z · EA · GW

I think Da Vinci's Studies of the Fetus in the Womb are also quite beautiful and apparently (one of) the first drawings of a fetus' positioned accurately.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on TobiasH's Shortform · 2022-01-15T15:19:32.522Z · EA · GW

I stumbled on this flow chart from 2015 about how different value and empirical judgements might change what cause areas we'd want to work on and with which methods:

It's a bit dated by now. But I think an updated version of this could be very valuable for newcomers to EA.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Native languages in the EA community (and issues with assessing promisingness) · 2021-12-28T19:20:33.960Z · EA · GW

For many non-native speakers having a conversation in English is quite cognitively demanding – especially when talking about intellectual topics they just learned about. Even reasonably proficient speakers often struggle to express themselves as clearly as they could in their native language, there is a trade-off between fluent speech and optimal word choice/sentence construction. If given 2x more time, or the chance to write down their thoughts, they would possibly not misuse the jargon to the same degree.

Many people get excited about EA when they first hear about it and read a lot of materials. At this speed of learning retention of specific concepts is often not very good at first – but gets a lot better after a few repetitions. 

It's possible that they would be better off learning and using the concepts in a slower yet more accurate way. Misuse of concepts might be some evidence for them not being the most promising candidates for intellectual contributions. But there seem to be other characteristics that could easily compensate for a sub-optimal-but-good rate of learning (e.g. open-mindedness, good judgment, persistence, creativity).

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on EA Internships Board Now Live! · 2021-12-21T15:27:23.025Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much for this tool, it looks very valuable! 
A small problem I get at the moment: If I choose any location, it gives me "Unknown field names: remote opportunity?. Please ensure that the field exists and is not incorrectly mapped."

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on A huge opportunity for impact: movement building at top universities · 2021-12-15T13:19:34.369Z · EA · GW

If that was the main constraint, then why limit this opportunity to 17 focus universities – 16 of which are in the UK or US? 
Of course, some qualified candidates might be willing to move but others may be unable or unwilling to do so.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on TobiasH's Shortform · 2021-11-23T11:17:24.583Z · EA · GW

I'd like to be able to search the "80000 hours" and the "Effective Altruism" LinkedIn groups for members from my city. The group member lists are only searchable for names.

I think it could be a good way to contact local EA-aligned people who aren't on our radar. 
Is there any workaround for doing this?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Notes on "Managing to Change the World" · 2021-11-09T08:17:26.282Z · EA · GW

Very useful! 
It's only free for the first 12 months though. After that, it's $16 for every million characters.

How far would one be allowed to spread those audiobooks before running into legal troubles? 
If the books are in public domain, would Amazon hold some copyright on the audio version?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Open Thread: Spring 2022 · 2021-11-02T12:33:32.895Z · EA · GW

(Repost from Shortform because I didn't get an answer. Hope that's ok.)

The "Personal Blogposts" section has recently become swamped with [Event] posts.
Most of them are irrelevant to me. Is there a way to hide them in the "All Posts"-view?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on TobiasH's Shortform · 2021-10-22T14:10:22.131Z · EA · GW

The "Personal Blogposts" section has recently become swamped with [Event] posts.
Most of them are irrelevant to me. Is there a way to hide them in the "All Posts"-view?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Has anyone checked out Noora Health? · 2021-05-13T08:25:20.079Z · EA · GW

I'm not an expert but skimmed the two documents that seemed most relevant. The mortality rate analysis of the study and how they derive the $1235 per life estimate from it. 

Two things that I noticed, which jlewars didn't mention yet:
[Again not an expert, so don't make any conclusions based on what I write here.]

  • They estimate that their intervention results in "9.2 additional baby lives saved for every 1000 live births". This point estimate comes with a pretty large confidence interval  (95% CI: 0.9,17.6). So the $1235 per life saved should possibly be read as similarly uncertain.
  • They note that "The NMR [Neonatal Mortality Rate] seen in our study is much higher than the national average and most likely because participants were recruited from tertiary care facilities and have Special Newborn Care Unit beds.". If I understand it correctly, the intervention in the study was conducted on a quite specific vulnerable subgroup. With Quasi-Experiments and RCTs the external validity (how well does the intervention work on a different study group, in a different region?) is questionable, especially whenever there aren't many additional studies being done in different contexts. 
    So, even if Noora Health's intervention was as effective as they suggest, the question of how well the intervention is scaled for mothers in other contexts is a separate question. (However, if they use additional funding in a similar context this is not such a big problem.)
Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Why we want to start a charity fortifying feed for hens (founders needed) · 2021-04-20T12:58:24.270Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot, this sounds really interesting. 

Do you have any sense, why producers are not already fortifying feed with at least some of the nutrients? 
If deficiencies contribute significantly to the mortality of the hen, wouldn't it be in their self-interest to do so?

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Announcing "Naming What We Can"! · 2021-04-03T18:03:15.533Z · EA · GW

Arrest this man!

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Your Altruism Movie Suggestions? · 2021-02-05T06:44:09.796Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure if it completely fits, but Grizzly Man  is a great documentary  about (questionable) altruism.

Furthermore, the movie focuses also a lot on questions surrounding which view of nature we should have. It seemed to subtly reinforce my emotional stance towards wild animal suffering. 

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-18T06:22:01.813Z · EA · GW

I'd love to have a weekly/monthly open post, where everyone could ask questions and post small ideas. I imagine something similar to LessWrongs "Open & Welcome Thread". This could make some people more comfortable with starting to contribute to the forum.

Comment by TobiasH on [deleted post] 2020-05-29T14:12:57.840Z

"Wischedag" isn't really a last name and alliterates with "Waschke". "Hans" is a german placeholder name.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on How should longtermists think about eating meat? · 2020-05-18T06:58:19.034Z · EA · GW

Hey Rupert

[I just want to clarify that, of the large existing diets, I think that vegans probably have the morally best diet. I also don't want to discourage anyone from becoming vegan or vegetarian. I just want to somewhat push back at the idea that being vegan comes at trivial personal costs.]

Yes, I was vegetarian for around 5 years, 2 of which I was vegan. I've since become what you might call reducetarian (of which no chicken or pork, mainly milk, sometimes beef and eggs).

Personally, I can say that the costs of transitioning are quite high. I guess that during the whole transition it took me around 30 to 150 hours of work, which I wouldn't have had with a standard diet (it's hard to quantify in retrospect and depends on how you define work). But transitioning has also quite some fun aspect, restricting your diet forces your creativity, you get to know new people etc. So I'd say that costs of transitioning are hard to evaluate.

I suspect that I would pay anywhere from $400 to $1200 per year from my non-altruistic budget to keep my standard diet (depending on lots of factors, especially income at the time). The main reasons for reverting were taste, ease and nutritional value. I could well be that my WTP for a standard diet is higher than average. I also suspect that this cost estimate will dramatically decrease over the next years as vegan products become tastier and more available, and this could very well mean I'll become vegan again.

For some people, like Michael, the costs involved appear to be rather small. But it doesn't seem very plausible that 84% of vegans, or so, revert to consuming animal products if they typically perceive the cost of not eating meat to be only $100 per year (let's say adjusted to an average american income).

One bad aspect of the vegan movement is the insistance that personal costs are very small. Claims that are often made circle around "You won't miss the taste of animal products after a while.", or "Having a healthy vegan diet is easy.". I believe that both these points are simply untrue for many people.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on How should longtermists think about eating meat? · 2020-05-17T11:22:03.113Z · EA · GW

I don't think that calling meat-eating frivolous is very helpful.
Most vegans revert to consuming some degree of animal products (as far as I understand the research they end up eating meat again, but in lower quantities), indicating that there are significant costs involved.

A side-constraint about harm is generally plausible to me.
I'm still somewhat sceptical about the argument:
- Either you extend this norm to not ommiting actions that could prevent harm from happening, or you seem to be making a dubious distinction between acts and omissions. Extending the norm would possibly give reasons for longtermists to prioritise other ways to prevent harm over not eating meat (and then this should be part of the longtermist cost-benefit-analysis the OP asks for).
- There should be some way to account for the fact that in some cases violating the side-constraint is costly, while in other cases complying with the side-constraint is costly.

I completely agree that longtermists should take animal welfare into account, and that is not happening to an adequate degree at the moment. I'm far less sure, whether comparing meat-eating to punching your neighbour is going to achieve this.

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on How should longtermists think about eating meat? · 2020-05-17T08:49:48.451Z · EA · GW

Assuming the harm of both actions to be equal, this is only really a fair comparison if eating meat and punching your neighbour is equally costly.

I'd argue that not-eating-meat is costly, and not-punching-your-neighbour is cheap (or personally beneficial) in the medium to long run. (That deciding not to eat meat is currently costly sucks and should be changed.)

Comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) on Book launch: "Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues" (Oxford) · 2019-09-19T10:00:49.767Z · EA · GW

Quick thing anyone could do, to make this book (or any other book you find valuable) more available.

Most university/city libraries offer the possibility to recommend books to them. I`ve done this myself many times (also for this book) and my university library sofar ordered every book I`ve recommended.